Before you brush, roll, or spray a drop of paint, there are a few other preparations that are necessary to ensure a good job with minimal effort, errors, and spattering.
Before you brush, roll, or spray a drop of paint, there are a few other preparations that are necessary to ensure a good job with minimal effort, errors, and spattering. The precautions may seem obvious, but they are often overlooked.
Protect other surfaces.
Cover the grass, patio, and other adjoining surfaces with drop cloths. Cover any plants that are nearby. You can use newspapers, tarpaulins, or inexpensive plastic sheets designed for the purpose. No matter how neat you are as a painter, accidents can and do happen. It is easier to protect your house and grounds than it is to try to remove half a bucket of spilled paint.
Clean up as you paint. Wet paint is easy to remove; dry paint is hard to remove. Use turpentine or another thinner to remove oil paint; use water to remove latex paint.
Rub protective cream onto your hands and arms. A film of this cream will make it easier to remove paint from your skin when the job is done. Old gloves or disposable plastic gloves and aprons are also useful.
Check the condition of the paint.
When you buy new paint of good quality from a reputable store, it is usually in excellent condition; however, you should examine it for lumps, curdling, or color separation. Do not use if there are signs of these conditions.
Old paints – especially latex paints—that give off a foul odor when you open the container, or that show signs of lumps or curdling are probably spoiled and should be discarded.
If there is a “skin” on the surface of the paint when you open the container, remove as much of the hardened film as you can with a spatula or knife and strain the paint through cheesecloth or fine wire mesh, such as window screening. If you fail to do this, bits of the skin will show up with exasperating frequency to spoil the appearance of your paint job.
Follow directions for mixing.
New paints are usually ready for use when purchased and require no thinning except when they are to be applied with a sprayer. Get the advice of the paint store salesman when you buy the paint, and check the label before you mix or stir. Some manufacturers do not recommend mixing because it may introduce air bubbles.
If mixing is required, it can be done at the paint store by placing the can in a mechanical agitator, or you can do it at home with a paddle or spatula.
Stir or shake oil-base paint thoroughly before you start to paint. Stir it frequently while painting. Latex or water-base paint should not be shaken because it foams.
If you open the can and find that the pigment has settled, use a clean paddle or spatula and gradually work the pigment up from the bottom of the can, using a circular stirring motion. Continue until the pigment is thoroughly and evenly distributed with no signs of color separation. If the settled layer is hard or rubbery and resists stirring, the paint is probably too old and should be discarded.
Protect the paint between jobs.
Between jobs, even overnight, cover the paint container tightly to prevent evaporation and thickening and to keep dust out of the paint. Oil-base and alkyd paints can develop a skin from exposure to the air.
When you finish painting, clean the rim of the paint can thoroughly and put the lid on tight. To ensure that the lid is airtight, cover the rim with a cloth or piece of plastic film (to prevent spattering) and then tap the lid firmly into place with a hammer.